Ed Tech Ideas

Tech Integration for Busy Teachers

Category Archives: Education Reform

U.S. Education vs. the World

The following info-graphic from USC Rossier Online shows an interesting comparison between educational spending and test performance of the U.S. and 12 other countries. It seems like throwing money at a problem is not always the road to success…


My Green School Dream

“Dyslexic, we’ve renamed prolexic.” John Hardy mentions about 10 minutes into his talk, and that kind of thinking is a big part about what makes the Green School so special. The architecture is beautiful, and the school is off the grid. However, anyone can build beautiful buildings – the approach that Hardy takes with the children – wanting to make them whole, is in my mind, what elevates the Green School to an amazing place of learning and growth.

What do you think of the Green School?

Stop Teaching Calculating. Start Teaching Math

“Math is very popular. Just not in education.”  Conrad Wolfram gives a great talk about how to bridge the math gap between the real world and the classroom by using computers to make math relevant to learners.

What do the math teachers out there think about Wolfram’s ideas?

Bring on the Learning Revolution!

Great follow-up TedTalk by Sir Ken Robinson about what the education system needs today.

Every education system in the world is being reformed at the moment. And it’s not enough.  Reform is no use anymore. Because that’s simply improving a broken model. What we need is not evolution, but a revolution in education – this has to be transformed into something else.

-Sir Ken Robinson

Social Media Revolution 2

Social Media Revolution 2 is a refresh of the original video with new and updated social media & mobile statistics that are hard to ignore. Based on the book Socialnomics by Erik Qualman.

Stupid in America

If you haven’t seen this video, you may want to set aside 40 minutes and give it a watch. This is John Stossel’s 20/20 report about how public education in the United States is failing its students.

While watching this report I kept going back and forth agreeing and disagreeing with what was being said in the interviews and how the story was being directed. I taught in the public school system in California for 5 years before moving overseas in 2001. Students in my district were learning, engaged and progressing (albeit I taught grade 3, and the video states that as American students progress through school, they begin falling further and further behind their international counterparts).
Here are some of my questions and thoughts about Stupid in America:

  • Tenure – What other profession has this security embedded in the system? If a doctor is failing her patients, more than likely, she will not have a job. Why should teachers be so secure?
  • That being said, people are not “on” all the time. Teachers have off days. The boys on Wall Street had some off days and received bonuses. How is one to judge and prove that a teacher is ineffective?
  • Why is the public education system allowed to be a monopoly?
  • Why can parents not choose where to send their children?
  • Teachers also have to deal with so many other factors (emotional instabilities, parent inadequacies, abuse at home, etc.)
  • Rewarding teacher based on performance as is done in other industries is not feasible as there are so many outside factors involved beyond a teacher’s control.
  • The Rubber Room Documentary Interesting – I heard about this a couple of years ago.
  • The 6 hour, 40 minute day part is rubbish! I do not know a single teacher who has ever worked that short of a day.
  • Students having teacher’s cell phone number and schools requiring teachers to be available for “after-hours” help, is taking things a bit too far.
  • Why is school money not attached to a child, as in the case in Belgium and other countries?
  • People who use, “It never has been, it never will be” as a reason, generally do not know what they are talking about.

All in all, it is obvious that there is a major dilemma happening in the US public education system. It’s not as black and white as the video purports, but changes need to be made and Stossel asks some tough questions. To follow the debate that has ensued since this story broke, you can check out ABC’s page devoted to this.

“I’m a good teacher. I don’t need tenure to protect my job, I need tenure to be gone to protect my students.”

-Ashley Wirth
Keiller Leadership Academy

Did You Know 4.0

More great reminders from Scott McLeod, Karl Fisch, and Laura Belstler. Quote of the video by Ray Kurzweil:

“So what used to fit in a building, now fits in your pocket. What fits in your pocket now will fit in a blood cell in 25 years.”

Enjoy the video.

Are We Adapting for the Future?

Here’s an example of how magazines will be looking in the near future. This is the new Sports Illustrated magazine scheduled to be released sometime this year.

If this is the reality of the written word for today’s students, are we preparing them for a future of interactive paperless media, or are we continuing to teach in the same “sage on the stage” manner of yesteryear?
Will Richardson speaks of this need for shift eloquently in his blog post: I Don’t Need Your Network (or Your Computer, or Your Tech Plan, or Your…)

All too often we get hung up on the technology question, not the curriculum question. Here in New Jersey, every district has to submit a three year “Technology Plan” and as you can guess, most of them are about how many Smart Boards to install or how wireless access will be expanded. Very, very little of it is about how curriculum changes when we have anytime, anywhere learning with anyone in the world. Why aren’t we planning for that?

In short, what changes are around the corner, and are we ready for the shift? Are teachers arming themselves with the tools necessary to prepare students, and more importantly, are the methods changing to engage today’s learners and prepare them for a world of tomorrow? As 2009 draws to a close, I am filled with hope of things to come and excitement of the shift that I see happening around me. But at the same time, I am left with a bothersome question: Are we, as a system of educators, adapting for the future?

Did You Know 3.0

Here’s the latest version (2008) of Karl Fisch’s Did You Know video. Always a good reminder/eye opener.

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